This Orange Julius smoothie is creamy and full of flavor, with the perfect sweet and tart combination. Enjoy this drink for breakfast, brunch, an afternoon snack, or even a light dessert. It takes only minutes to make with just 4 ingredients!
Oranges (and bananas) are easily my least favorite fruit to enjoy in their native form, but put them in a dessert or a drink like this Orange Julius, and all bets are off. I could have a glass of this every day and never get tired of it. Sweet, tart, creamy, refreshing, and citrusy.
What is an Orange Julius?
Most people probably associate an Orange Julius with their teenage years and hanging out at the local mall, which usually had at least one (if not two) juice stands selling this drink. Good times! Its creation dates back to the 1920’s in Los Angeles, where Southern California is well known for their orange groves (a la Orange County.)
An Orange Julius is a blended frozen drink where sweetened orange concentrate is the star. It’s a cross between a drink, milkshake, and smoothie – it tastes like a creamsicle! If you can’t find one at the mall, though, you’re in luck, because this drink is super easy to make at home in minutes.
Orange Julius Recipe
You only need 4 ingredients (plus ice) to make this orange smoothie. The texture is creamy and frothy, like a cross between a thinner smoothie and icey milkshake.
(Scroll below for the detailed recipe card and measurements.)
- Whole milk: We use whole milk for a thicker consistency and richer taste, but you can use 2% or even skim and it will still be delicious.
- Vanilla extract: Just a little vanilla adds another great layer of flavor.
- Frozen orange juice concentrate: This is not diluted with water. You’re using the frozen concentrate, as is. This not only makes the drink cold and icy, but it gives the drink the best concentrated (obviously) orange flavor.
- Sweetener: The original Orange Julius calls for granulated sugar, but we think it gives the drink a sort of grainy texture. So we use sweetened condensed milk instead for the ultra creamy feel and rich flavor! Either way, don’t skip a sweetener – you need it to balance out the tart citrus.
- Ice: Crushed ice blends easier, but cubed is fine. The more ice you use, the thicker the drink will be, but it will also water it down. Your call!
How to Make Orange Julius
Making this popular orange Julius recipe in your own kitchen is super easy. Just like most smoothies, you place all the ingredients in a blender, put the lid on, and blend until smooth and your desired consistency is reached. We always recommend that you put the liquids in first and the ice last. Pour into tall glasses and enjoy with a straw. Garnishing with whipped cream and an orange slice is optional, but why not!
Homemade Orange Julius Variations
- Add in other frozen fruits: Blend in frozen banana slices, strawberries, or pineapple for different flavor combinations and a thicker shake.
- Need it dairy free? You can replace the whole milk with an equal amount of coconut milk for a dairy-free version.
- Use fresh orange juice: You can make this drink with fresh orange juice instead of frozen orange juice concentrate. It will produce a thinner drink and the orange flavor won’t be as wonderful, but it is still good. Just replace the orange juice concentrate and water called for in the recipe with 2 cups of fresh orange juice. You can also freeze orange juice in ice cube trays, which will help get closer to the ideal texture.
- Try yogurt: Replace the 1 cup milk with 2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt and omit the ice, for an even creamier, tangy drink.
- Make popsicles: Pour any leftovers into popsicle molds and freeze for a fun summer treat.
Other Refreshing Drinks We Love
Orange Julius Drink
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (see note)
- 6 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate , partially thawed (no water added)
- 1 1/2 cups ice
- raw egg or egg white powder , optional (see note)
- Whipped cream , for garnish, optional
- Orange slices , for garnish, optional
- Place all ingredients in a blender, in the order listed.
- Blend on medium-high speed for a few seconds until smooth and frothy.
- Pour into glasses.
- Garnish with whipped cream and/or an orange slice, and enjoy with a straw!